Magistrate, author rolled into one

HARARE - He has handed out countless rulings, presided over hundreds of cases and “lost count of” all the criminals he has locked up.

Harare provincial magistrate, Vakayi Chikwekwe, 49, is a man of many talents and has a passion for the pen when he is not with the gavel.

Although public prosecutors and lawyers look up to him for guidance he is the first to admit that his knowledge of the law is sound but not there yet.

That’s why he has made it his mandate to constantly upgrade his educational qualifications and is currently enrolled for a PHD at Kent University in the United Kingdom.

The affable magistrate who is easy to approach becomes one of the longest serving provincial magistrates to have worked at Harare Magistrates’ Court, with this year being his third.

“You have to be hard working to pull the strings in Harare. A lot of effort is needed as you meet new challenges every day,” said Chikwekwe.

“…there is need to use corporate governance and research extensively to know how to apply the law.”

As part of his ‘PHD by Published Works’ programme Chikwekwe has authored books that are currently circulating in Zimbabwe’s higher learning institutions.

“I am into writing as I am an academia. My publications are a contribution into the legal field. On the other hand I could say it’s a hobby,” said Chikwekwe holding his latest publication - An Introduction to the Legal System of Zimbabwe.

“It is a simple text one easy to understand that is going to benefit scholars and other people who want to equip themselves with knowledge about their country’s legal system.”

Chikwekwe has two other pending publications – Principles of Family Law which he co-authored with Silvia Chirawu and A guide to the Law of Evidence in Zimbabwe.

“My publications incorporate changes that have been brought about by the new Constitution,” added Chikwekwe.

“As a legal practitioner, I understand how important it is to keep yourself updated with changes that affect our legal system. People should take interest and read the books.”

Quizzed on how he has managed to balance time between travelling to the UK for studies every month, handling the magistrates courts, his family and personal businesses Chikwekwe said he budgets his time.

“I never have conflict of interests when other employees leave for home that is when I begin writing. Besides what I write about is basically my work and here we are talking about things that I deal with on a daily basis,” he said.

“I do not drink or smoke and that has been my greatest strength. I have employed people who assist with handling my business at my poultry project in Gweru and always have time for my wife and three kids.”

Chikwekwe has also contributed a number of legal articles in some law journals and holds an LLB Honours degree from Midlands State University among other qualifications from University of Zimbabwe and University of Westminster in London where he was once the student ambassador.

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